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Broadband Rydberg Atom-Based Electric-Field Probe for SI-Traceable, Self-Calibrated Measurements

Published

Author(s)

Christopher L. Holloway, Joshua A. Gordon, Steven R. Jefferts, Thomas P. Heavner

Abstract

We discuss a fundamental new approach for the measurement of electric (E) fields that will lead to the development of a broadband, SI-traceable, compact, self-calibrating E-field probe (sensor). This approach is based on the interaction of radio frequency (RF) fields with alkali atoms excited to high Rydberg states. The RF field causes an energy splitting of the Rydberg states via the Autler-Townes effect, and we detect the splitting via electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT). In effect, alkali atoms placed in a vapor cell act like a RF-to-optical transducer: converting an RF E-field strength measurement to a frequency measurement. We demonstrate the broadband nature of this approach by showing that one small vapor cell can be used to measure E-field strengths over a wide range of frequencies: 1~GHz to 500~GHz. The technique is validated by comparing experimental data to both numerical simulations and far-field calculations for various RF frequencies. We also discuss various applications, including: a direct traceable measurement, the abilities to measure both weak and strong field strengths, compact form factors of the probe, and sub-wavelength imaging and field mapping.
Citation
IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation
Volume
62
Issue
12

Keywords

atom based metrology, Autler-Townes Splitting, broadband sensor and probe, electrical field measurements and sensor, EIT, sub-wavelength imaging, Rydberg atoms

Citation

Holloway, C. , Gordon, J. , Jefferts, S. and Heavner, T. (2014), Broadband Rydberg Atom-Based Electric-Field Probe for SI-Traceable, Self-Calibrated Measurements, IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, [online], https://doi.org/10.1109/TAP.2014.2360208 (Accessed July 31, 2021)
Created September 25, 2014, Updated January 27, 2020